Scientists invent camera capable of measuring tumor size and location

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A camera capable of detecting the exact size and position of tumors has been developed by two scientists in the United States. Edoardo Chabon from EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne) and Claudio Bruschini from Dartmouth College worked together in the hope that the camera will help surgeons remove cancer cells.

Edoardo Chabon, head of the Advanced Quantum Architecture Laboratory at EPFL, invented the camera known as SwissSPAD2. He was able to capture and count the smallest form of light particles called photons, while also being able to generate 3D images and calculate depth of field. It works by measuring the time it takes for a photon to travel from the camera to an object using a photon-counting pixel sensor and a pulsed laser.

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Working alongside Claudio Bruschino to push the technology further, the two devised a method that involved projecting a red light onto an area of ​​diseased tissue with a laser while simultaneously taking a photo of the area. “Red is a color that can penetrate deep into human tissue,” Chabon told Mirage News, and when these red light particles reach a tumor, they behave differently.

The examined tissue is injected with a fluorescent contrast agent that binds only to tumor cells, which identifies the time it takes for light particles to return to the point of origin. The time difference between the return of red light particles to healthy tissue and tumor tissue is what is needed to rebuild the tumor.

There is less than a nanosecond delay in particle return time, but it is enough for scientists to generate 2D and 3D images. It is this attribute that allows the system to identify the shape, thickness and location of a tumor in a patient’s body.

Although surgeons can use MRI to locate tumors in the body after the operation, it is much more difficult to locate them from healthy tissue during surgery. This new technology is designed to help surgeons with the delicate task of removing a tumor and ensuring that no cancerous tissue is left behind – and, hopefully, will help save lives.

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